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Score Belies Excellent Defensive Work
As a coach whose primary vocation is as an English teacher, I can't resist teaching new words, and today's word is "belies," which means "to give a false impression to." Looking at the score of the Girls' JV Soccer opener, one might think, "Wow, that was something of a blowout." In fact, the defense played some of the best soccer I've seen here, certainly the best in my four years of watching us battle St. Paul's. In other words, the score belies the excellent hustle and clearing that happened among our players, all of whom found themselves playing defense today.
St. Paul's typically plays an excellent distribution game, meaning that they send mighty balls lofting over our midfield for their forwards to get a touch to challenge our defense. Defending against them while trying also to advance requires a lot of running. We knew this, but it still happened that our defense and midfielders did more running than they might have expected. With 19 PA players active for the season opener, we effectively used new PA coach Kate Piacenza's hockey strategy of playing lines, meaning that for much of the game, players built chemistry among a predictable group of teammates. Paige Makechnie at sweeper and Madi McSorley at stopper anchored an outstanding defense throughout the first half, with Paige playing all but 3 minutes of the game. Morgan Hart Nibbrig demonstrated remarkable command both as a defender and as a defensive halfback, with soaring kicks trying to get something going in SPS's half of the field. Lily Krehbiel was fast and furious, fearlessly charging all over the midfield, challenging opponents, and gaining possession. That SPS took 19 shots to PA's 2 reinforces that we need to learn to change fields, use the lanes, and distribute balls better to give our strikers more opportunities to shoot. That statistic also underscores the heroic work of senior captain Kathryn Rice, who graciously accepted her coaches' invitation to play in goal and generously stayed with it despite the relentless Pelican strikers.
Both Kate and I marveled at the hustle and positive spirit that our players demonstrated. We had warned them that practices featuring running would help them build stamina, and we know more clearly what technical aspects of the game require our attention following this season opener. We couldn't be more proud of the way that, in Kate's words, "this team just crushed it" in terms of attitude and endurance. It promises to be a fun team to watch! Interscholastic competition resumes for this team at home against Brewster on September 29th at 2:30.
Located in Andover, NH, Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 9–12. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.